New UN campaign could result in 'unfettered access to abortion' worldwide

ReutersAn activist dances during an anti-abortion protest in Ottawa, Canada, on May 14, 2015.

A huge, well-funded global campaign to promote abortion worldwide appears to be taking shape at the United Nations, with one US lawmaker warning that this could pose a serious obstacle to faith-based groups working to curb abortions, according to the Catholic News Agency.

At issue is the phrasing of a proposal inserted in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals that will be voted on and adopted by the UN General Assembly in September. The proposal is set to take effect in 2016.

If the proposal is accepted the way it is written today, it could result in "unfettered access to abortion" worldwide, according to the office of Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.

The proposal establishes targets for global development. One of them is to "ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services" by 2030.

Another target is to "ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences."

The phrase "sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights" is interpreted to include abortion by most UN agencies and Western donor countries, said a former diplomat at the UN who took part in various talks on the phrasing of information on sexual and reproductive health. The way this information is written forms part of the campaign in developed countries which tie this up with financial incentives to pressure poor, pro-life countries to ease or even remove their restrictions on abortion purportedly in line with the UN's definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The phrasing or the language of the abortion proposal is just a small part of 17 developmental goals and 170 targets that form a vast and comprehensive global agenda for the next 15 years. The agenda includes the fight against poverty and hunger and the promotion of sustainable energy and universal education.

Smith said he considers the language of the proposal alarming, especially for developing countries, since the funding required for these Sustainable Development Goals amounting from $5 to $7 trillion can also be used as encouragement for developing countries to allow for liberalisation of their abortion laws.

The goals are basically telling developing countries that liberalisation of abortion and contraception "is what you need if you want economic growth," Smith said.

If poor countries cannot meet the sexual and reproductive rights targets as stated in the development goals, they could risk losing development funding.

If the current language of the proposal is adopted by the UN in September, it could result in a massive increase of abortion cases around the globe because of the heightened pressure exerted on developing countries by foundations that offer access to abortion.

State and local laws that limit access to abortion could be deemed to be in violation of the "universal right" to abortion services and could be repealed. These would include laws such as a minor having to obtain parental or spousal consent to get an abortion, Smith said.

The congressman warned that faith-based organisations that disagree with abortion out of conscience could lose their funding as a result of these development goals.

The Post-2015 goals are founded on the initial eight "Millennium Development Goals" that the UN established in 2000 for the next 15 years. These included eradicating world poverty and reducing the expansion of HIV-AIDS.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also made recommendations for countries' health systems through their report 'Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems." Their report says "to the full extent of the law, safe abortion services should be readily available and affordable to all women."

This proves that the WHO desires to "harmonise the push" and "integrate" abortion into normal health care worldwide, which would result in a huge increase in abortion within the next 15 years, Smith warned.

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